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Better Days – A Review of the Sabres 06-07 Season DVD

October 7, 2007

Have I ever mentioned how ridiculous it is that “Better Days” was the theme chosen for the 06-07 playoffs? The Goos released “Better Days” immediately after Hurricane Katrina, and the lyrics fit that event a lot more than they do hockey season. Yes, the song does contain the lyrics, “tonight’s the night the world begins again,” which is appropriate for playoffs, but channeling a song released for hurricane support doesn’t quite jive with me.

Anyways, the dvd is a pretty good recap of the Sabres 2006-07 season. It is divided into the main feature recapping the season, plus bonus features on the equipment staff, 24-hours on the road with the team, “Andrew” Kaleta’s debut with the team (Yes, I know it’s Pat Kaleta, but apparently, no one at HSBC Arena does.), and Lindy’s first team meeting.

The main feature devotes a pretty significant chunk of time to recapping the 10 straight wins that started the season. We crash Carolina’s banner raising party. (Rod Brind’Amour – still ugly.) There’s a few minute discussion of the October surprise storm and how it affected the team, as they were in Detroit at the time. The next night, Drury scores his first career hat trick against the Rangers, bringing joy to a dark and dreary community. (I realize hatters are hard to get, but you would think that a player of Drury’s caliber would have had one after so many years in the league. Especially since Drury is all that and a bag of chips, according to some members of the MSM).

We then move into a series on all of the comebacks the Sabres had in 2006-07. The fans learned not to leave their seats, because you never knew who was going to pull the rabbit out of the hat at the last minute. The largest chunk of time is spent on the comeback against Toronto (4-1 at the start of the third).

Now for some fluff..we follow Miller, Campbell and Briere at All-Star Weekend. Miller “complaining” about how all the autographs the players are signing are for each other.

There’s also a brief montage of the 9-1 shellacking of the Flyers in October. I was at that game, and let me tell you, it was amazing. The arena was more electric than usual, and the players picked up on it. The crowd was into it, chanting “we want [number] and turning Esche’s name chant into something almost melodic. (Side note: I had just gotten power back on at my house 3 hours before going to the game, so I was pommerdoodling over that. Going to the game and having it be such a fun game was just icing on the cake.)

We then move onto the Ottawa brawl, which is shown in its entirety. They bleeped Lindy yelling at Murray, those bastards.

Next up is the trade deadline footage shown on MSG during the season. One thing I caught this time around was the discussion of Stafford as trade bait. They kept comparing him to NJ’s (and Staffy’s former college teammate) Travis Zajac. Lindy likes Staffy’s puck handling skills and would take him over Zajac. There is one point where the white board at the front of the room is not blurred, and you can see the entire roster laid out, including “someone” on the 4th line.

The rest of the feature is kind of rushed. The team wins the President’s Trophy. Connolly plays in the last game of the season, and the villagers rejoice. There are also recaps of the playoff series against the Islanders and the Rangers.

Now here’s the kicker. The main feature ends with shot of the crowd in the plaza celebrating Afinogenov’s amazing overtime goal against the Rangers. No mention of the debacle that was the Ottawa series (but which did produce some great hockey). Is this a sin of omission? Probably, but if you’re going to recap the season, recap the season, not just the good parts. I honestly thought that I had gotten a bum dvd, since it ended so abruptly. (Not that I would have taken it back, since Paetsch, Soupy and Mair autographed the box).

The bonus features could have been longer. The draft day and time on the road stuff were what was seen during the game broadcasts. I know there’s more footage. Use it. The image of Patches and Mair ordering movies (Blood Diamond) and watching room service while on the road cracks me up. Its like they’re a group of overgrown teenage girls.

I thought the first team meeting feature was interesting, if only because Lindy doesn’t seem like he works from a script well. “Meeting Lindy” is not the same as “Press-Conference Lindy,” if that makes any sense. During his speech, he pointed out that all of the “Sabres” were on one side of the room, and all of the “young guys” on the other, and how they needed to fix that. The meeting was held in the ballroom of the Adam’s Mark (product placed podium); I guess the arena wasn’t available yet. You couldn’t really see any of the players reacting to Lindy, but I could pick out Miller’s That-Girl flip and Timmy’s bald head. I’m not sure what that says about me.

I would have liked to have seen more focus on the rotating roster during the season. That was one of the key stories of 06-07. It became a joke really, insert Amerk A into Sabre Slot B. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I would also have liked to have seen more commentary from the players themselves. The limited amount of player commentary was filmed on what appeared to be locker clean out day, as Miller was wearing that god-awful plaid jacket and red Rick’s hat. (I honestly hope that’s a clothing manufacturer or something – I’m showing my unhipness here – and not an endorsement of Rick’s Tally-Ho. Because, seriously, I don’t want to be thinking about him at Rick’s Tally-Ho, thank you very much). The only players interviewed separately were Miller, Drury and Roy.

I know, if I had my way, the dvd would be three hours long instead of forty-five minutes or so.

This would make a decent stocking stuffer for any Sabres fan. Its the perfect fluff piece to watch on Christmas day. Or any day, really, when hockey isn’t available. And besides, there are worse things you could spend $10 on.

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